37 answers

"Gifted" Labeling

Is it a good thing or not to have your child labeled "gifted"?

I never thought much about it but the mom of one of my friend buddies recently told me that last year, her son "missed gifted " by one point and she requested that he be re-tested. He was and he is.

Then I was talking to the mother of another one of my son's friends and she was explaining that her boy was bored in school and had recently (per her request) started to receive "extra" challenge-type of work, which he likes. I asked her if he had been tested for the "gifted" program, and she said "we don't want him labeled as 'gifted' because it's as much of a negative label as "special ed, etc."...and I was surprised.

I just always thought gifted programs were for the cream of the crop...the brightest of the bunch.
Now I'm confused.

So...do you have a "gifted" child?
If so, what does that mean to him/her/school experience?
What does a "gifted" kid's day look like.
Is it a good thing or not?

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My daughter is in kindergarten and her teachers/admin asked if they could test her IQ b/c she was reading at such a high level so quickly. I told them no. I was labeled "gifted" as a child and spent my whole school career being told I wasn't "Living Up to My Potential." I'd rather have her focus on making friends and the other fun things that happen in school. She's so young! I believe in letting her be a kid while she's a kid. If my child seems to not be challenged in class, her teacher will let her work on things that are more challenging. Just my opinion on how I raise my child. How others raise their children is completely up to them.

9 moms found this helpful

even if a kid is 'labeled'... I feel it is up to the parent(s), to ALSO teach their child, what that 'label' may mean... and in context to their own child... and developing their OWN, self-identity.
Thus teaching them, that in the world there are 'descriptive' terms.... but it does NOT 'define' you.
Because, ULTIMATELY... it is 'how' a parent raises their child, to be self-aware and how to develop.... being themselves. NO matter what.
Thus, a person is not 'constrained' nor dictated to, by the 'label.' And that the child, is taught... to just be themselves. To be who THEY are, as a person.
Thus, being, hopefully, well-rounded.
So that the child is ultimately, themselves. Not what the 'label' dictates to them.
That is the parents, role. In developing their child.

all the best,
Susan

3 moms found this helpful

My son is gifted.
It means he takes gifted classes in school and he still has to be patient when they teach at the pace of the slowest kid in the class.
They get a few extra projects than the core kids get but the classes still move at the same pace.
In school they introduce a subject on Monday, review it on Tuesday and my son is ready for Fridays quiz on Wednesday, but they spend 2 more days going over it some more.
It's no wonder the bright kids are bored out of their minds.
I keep him reading as many books as he wants (he regularly wins awards for Accelerated Reading points) and try to take him to all the local museums as often as possible.
Anything he wants to learn about, I'll help him look it up and learn all he wants to learn about it.
He's started taking clarinet this year (he's first chair) and he enjoys band activities and taekwondo.
I try not to let the school limit his learning experience and so far it's working fine.
He's finishing 6th grade this year and we've got 6 more years to go!

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

My daughter is in kindergarten and her teachers/admin asked if they could test her IQ b/c she was reading at such a high level so quickly. I told them no. I was labeled "gifted" as a child and spent my whole school career being told I wasn't "Living Up to My Potential." I'd rather have her focus on making friends and the other fun things that happen in school. She's so young! I believe in letting her be a kid while she's a kid. If my child seems to not be challenged in class, her teacher will let her work on things that are more challenging. Just my opinion on how I raise my child. How others raise their children is completely up to them.

9 moms found this helpful

To me, gifted is the child who can sit at a piano and create great music,
etc. In todays world, gifted is just a smart kid. Personally, I would not label
my kid gifted. Why put more pressure on him. Any good teacher will
know what to do with a child who is bright.+

7 moms found this helpful

Most kids that are labeled as gifted are just kids that have parents that have pushed them. It is not that there is anything special about the child compared to other children, and I agree that any kind of label can be bad when it comes to kids. I think the other mom is approaching it right by making sure her child is challenged by his school work while not singling him out. I honestly think the parents that seek out the "gifted" title are doing it for themselves, to make themselves feel special somehow, not for the benefit of the kids.

7 moms found this helpful

My daughter recently started attending the gifted and talented class at her school. She is in 3rd grade. In this school, that means she is in a special class for 40 minutes twice a week. She misses the time that her class teacher reads to the kids. Instead she gets to do things like come up with and work on inventions and other activities to stimulate her creativity. To get in the class, she scored at a very high level on a test designed to assess creativity and ability to think - not math or reading. She is also in the accelerated math class, but is about average for her grade level in reading.

I certainly don't agree that to have a child attend any type of program for gifted children should be a negative label. I wish there had been a program like this when I was in elementary school and spent hours staring out the window bored.

I also wish parents would be and could be as vocally proud of their children succeeding and excelling in the classroom as they are when they excell on the sports field...

6 moms found this helpful

I haven't read all the answers, so this may be (hopefully, anyway) a repeat. Gifted and smart are not the same thing. As a teacher who has GATE (gifted and talented education) training, I have taught a number of 'GATE' students, but only a handful have truly been gifted (in my opinion, this is a flaw in the way students are identified). A student who excels in school, gets straight A's, etc. is not necessarily gifted. In fact, a gifted child can be the one with failing grades. To put it simply, a gifted child is one that often thinks outside the box. Unlike Special Education which has so many laws to abide by, gifted education can look different (or even be nonexistant) depending on where you are. In my district, students are clustered into groups on 5-8 and are taught in the regular classroom by a GATE trained teacher. They are not supposed to receive more work, but differentiated work. In fact, I teach all my students the same way for the majority of the day, but by using the "GATE" startegies, the truly gifted children take that material to a different level. I don't know if this is the best way to teacher our gifted kids, but this is how I was trained and what I've experienced. If you think your child may be gifted, contact your school or district office and ask how students are tested and what services they receive, then decide it it's a good match for your child.

6 moms found this helpful

I was "labeled" gifted when I was in school. My eldest brother was too. It was a "good" label then.
My daughter is "labeled" gifted now. And I pushed to get her tested as soon as possible when she entered public school for 3rd grade, because she was not being challenged by the regular curriculum. She is in a one day a week pull-out program like another poster mentioned. And she LOVES it.

The thing with gifted isn't just that the kids are smart. All kids can be smart and all kids can learn. One of the differences is that gifted kids (academically gifted, that is) do not require the number of repetitions to learn something new that a "non"gifted child would. So when their math teacher is showing them long division for the umpteenth time b/c half the class still hasn't quite got it yet, the gifted student picked it up on the second time it was explained and is now bored stiff b/c they already grasp the entire concept and are ready to move on to something else.
Gifted classes have special teachers just like "special ed" classes. Because they do require different techniques and methodologies more catered to the individuals than a regular classroom provides, just like a spec. ed class in a lot of respects. They ARE special ed students...just usually at the opposite end of the spectrum. And so many times are overlooked. Many gifted kids get in trouble at school b/c they find other things to entertain themselves when they are bored with the subject matter. Either talking, or class clown, or other misbehavior.
It is wonderful to have my daughter in a gifted class that has a teacher working diligently to bring out her potential, rather than not giving her much time b/c she doesn't HAVE to--- the kid that needs help with his math or reading needs her more. She has been able (thru gifted classes) to go on several extra field trips that were for the gifted students only. Next fall they will go overnight for 2 nights to Kennedy Space Center for example. It is a small group and obviously not something the school could offer to the entire student population, nor could Kennedy offer that wide of an audience the opportunity to come.

There is something your friend may not have considered (unless she is homeschooling) and that is that having a child who is gifted who is NOT receiving "services" is at a disadvantage. They will be held back from achieving what they can in some cases, and many many things will be so easy for them that they will never be forced to learn skills that other students must to succeed daily at school-- like studying. Then one day, they'll need that skill, and guess what? They'll fail because they don't know how. And they will blame themselves and wonder why they couldn't do the work. And they'll quit, because, gosh, they are so smart but they couldn't do that? They must not be able.
Being labeled gifted isn't really the problem, imho. The problem is when gifted kids are told repeatedly how "smart" they are. Like it is a state of being. When they are praised for BEING so smart when they make an A on something. They need to be praised for their hard work--just like any other student who worked hard at something--even if they only earned a B. Trust me when I say that they know whether they had to work at something or not. And when they are praised for something that took no effort, they learn that they don't have to make an effort at much of anything.
I praise my daughter a lot, but not for being smart. She had no part in that, and she knows it. She was born with a very well functioning brain. She didn't cause it. I praise her for specifics that I see her work hard at, or at some viewpoint she used in her art or opinion or choices she is making in her relationships, etc.

Kids that are extremely gifted sometimes have social problems due to being so advanced academically, and being a little less "people smart" socially. And other kids can label them as well (teacher's pet, the smart kid, geek, etc).

My gifted kid's day doesn't look that much different than any other kid's day, usually. Except that my gifted kid is always on the lookout for a new experience and can self-entertain WAY more easily than other kids. She'll read, play the piano, draw, paint, exercise (really!) or whatever. She gets tired of the TV quickly. And she absolutely LOVES word games or puzzles and things like Jeopardy! (my child is not quite 10 yrs old).
Is that different than other kids? Maybe. Maybe not. But it is important to remember that all gifted kids are not the same. They are still individuals. Some are gifted in non-academic areas (painting/sculpting/drawing/music/dance/building things, etc.) and some are gifted in academics in particular, and some are gifted in several areas. And some have problems with things like dyslexia and ADHD, too. And their interests, like other kids, often follow their natural talents. They aren't super smart robots. And their personalities vary just like anyone else's.

I have never really understood the idea of keeping your child OUT of gifted classes if they meet the standards. But I also don't understand trying to have your child placed in gifted classes if they don't meet them. That just seems like setting your child up to feel like they are less than they should be. As the expectations for them are going to be a lot different than expectations in a standard classroom.

I have noticed that there seems to be a much stronger self-motivation in gifted kids. My daughter, for example (and I know many others like her), pushed ME to teach her to read. When she was 3. And she did learn and read everything put in front of her (by age 4)-- or she'd go find her own (her older brother's science text books!). She also contrived to have her older brother (3 yrs older) teach her to write in cursive (she wasn't quite 5) (they learned it in kindergarten in the private school they were enrolled in). She LOVES foreign language as well. She wants to learn EVERYTHING. Most kids (generally speaking) are pretty content with playing in their spare time. My child begged me to buy summer bridge workbooks for her. That she would do on her own (self taught herself how to carry digits in math) at night, in the car, wherever/whenever.

6 moms found this helpful

I have a gifted teacher's certification, and I teach AP classes, so I am pretty good at recognizing gifted kids. The counselors and teachers at both of my sons' schools have pushed and pushed to have them tested. I am positive my oldest is gifted, and pretty sure my youngest is though he may just be very smart - there is a difference. We have opted not to test them for two reasons. One is that I don't like the way they run the gifted program in the district where our boys attend school, and the other is that my youngest would put way too much pressure on himself if he ever knew that he was labeled that way. He puts enough pressure on himself as it is. Our main concern is that both boys are challenged appropriately. I don't see a need to label them at this point.

5 moms found this helpful

D., there are parameters for qualifying for the designation of gifted. Perhaps it depends on the state - I'm not sure. But in elementary school is where it really starts and can make the biggest difference. In our experience in PA, testing had to measure 130 IQ. My older son qualified for IQ testing based on his OLSAT testing in first grade. (That score "suggested" that he would possibly test high on subsequent IQ testing.) He did score above the 130 a year later when he took the test, and enjoyed the gifted pull-out class. He also was able to go into higher level math quicker because of it.

At the end of his 4th grade year, we went overseas where the school was much harder, and having the scores that we could share with that private school made it so we could get him in (my younger son who was just finishing first grade was accepted so that he could be with his brother.)

I have NEVER been sorry for that testing. It served us and my son well. Regarding your friend, I have to say that she is being short-sighted. The more her son can get from the school above the regular program, WHATEVER it is, the better he will do, and the less bored he will be. In addition, his standardized testing will be better, which will help determine where he is placed in middle school, and by default, first year of high school. If his high school has an honors program and AP program, he NEEDS the most he can get EARLY ON so that firstly, he can get into honors and/or AP. And secondly, he needs to be used to a higher standard of learning and working early on so that he doesn't fall on his face in high school or be totally overwhelmed being in higher level classes.

Here's what honors and AP classes will do for her son later down the line:

*harder classes translate into higher level learning and better critical thinking skills
*prep for college in more reading, more writing, and more fully developed projects, including computer skill work
*extra help on his GPA because it's harder to get higher grades in a harder class
*Higher class rank standing which is important with so much competition
*A much better looking resume for colleges - a college or university is much more interested in kids who are in honors classes or AP (IB) classes than regular classes
*College credit for AP or IB classes - most colleges give course hours credit for a score of either 4 or 5 on the AP exams. That can translate into their son getting to graduate earlier, costing your friend a lot less money to send him to college, OR allow him to take classes that are more "rounded" than just courses that are required in his 4 years.
*Being a whole lot more prepared for college level work than regular high school courses prepare a student, especially a harder college or university
*Scholarship money available from colleges that want higher level students. My own son is certainly proof of that.

There are no downsides, period. I hope she will figure that out soon, regardless of the stepmom, who evidently has an agenda.

D.

4 moms found this helpful

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